Postcards From Death Row: A Collaborative Project of REACH Coalition and WUI Collective

In Fall 2012, REACH Coalition collaborated with WUI Collective to create a series of postcards from death row.

REACH is a prison education and advocacy group based in Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, TN; members include prisoners on death row and volunteers from the outside.  WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) is an arts collective whose members include Jonathan Rattner of Vanderbilt University’s Film Studies Program and John Engelbrecht of Public Space One.

We came together one afternoon at the prison for a workshop on artist postcards.  Participants were guided through a process to create an ideal image for their “postcard from death row.”  The brainstorming notes proved to be powerful on their own, and the collective decided to use the stark and simple text as imagery for the postcards, rather than attempting to fill the gap between word and image, inside and outside.

Postcards will be distributed to the public at Sarratt Gallery in conjunction with Imagining Justice from the Inside Out.  There are 18 designs in the series.

Bryant Smith, a student at Watkins College of Art and Design, created this response to the postcards:

In the next phase of this project, inside members of REACH Coalition have self-addressed 200 postcards, to be distributed to people across the world and sent back to Tennessee’s death row with a message or drawing from afar.  Some of the cards and messages will be posted on the REACH website in the weeks to come.

To request your own postcard from death row, or to submit your documentation of a card, please email reachcoalition.tn@gmail.com.

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